Corporates & blockchain. Cannabis is blazing. Medicare Advantage explained.

Microsoft overlooked?


From the underexamined files: Microsoft's successful transformation over the last ~4 years. 

No one among its peers — not Facebook, Google, Apple, or Amazon — has changed as fundamentally in this time, but Microsoft is never talked about as much.

Why is that?

Our Microsoft Teardown puts the spotlight on the company and explores how it has evolved under CEO Satya Nadella.

Check it out here.

Let's simplify things

Lots of corporations still use a complicated web of fax machines, handwriting, and siloed databases spread across multiple locations and contractors.

Blockchain and distributed ledgers could help streamline these processes. From Pfizer to Walmart to Goldman Sachs, we take a look at 80+ corporations implementing blockchain technology.

 Light it up

The cannabis industry saw unprecedented growth in 2018. Global funding to cannabis companies hit $2.2B across 300 deals — a record high.

We highlight the latest developments in the cannabis space. Expert Intelligence clients can read it here.

Let it go, let it go

No matter how much you wish for it, it might be time to accept that IPOs are not going to make a comeback.

We break down the three major data points that suggest the IPO's glory days are behind it. See them all here.

At an advantage

Medicare Advantage is expected to grow to 45-55% of Medicare enrollees by 2025, presenting a major business opportunity for insurers and other healthcare players.

We take a closer look at how Medicare Advantage works and what's driving its growth. Check it out here.

The more we get together

As cities become more and more connected, they generate a lot of data. That data is most useful if all of its sources, like traffic lights and parking meters, work together.

We explore initiatives for collecting and sharing data across smart cities, and how organizations around the world are handling growing privacy concerns. Check it out here.

Have a great rest of the week.


P.S. On January 17, we'll be discussing the future of aging. Sign up for the briefing here.

This week in data:

  • 6.3%: Beginning January 1, several pharmaceutical companies raised the prices of drugs, with an average price increase of 6.3%. Allergan had the highest increases, according to WSJ. The company raised the price of 51 products — such as Alzheimer's drug Namenda and dry-eye treatment Restasis — including 9.5% price raises on 27 drugs. Meanwhile, GlaxoSmithKline raised prices on 36 of its drugs, though no increases were greater than 3%. To understand how drugs, services, and money flow through the complex pharma pipeline — and to see how companies are trying to improve this opaque, inefficient system — check out our drug supply chain report.

  • 9: Biopharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb has announced plans to acquire rival Celgene Corp in a deal valued at $74B. The combined entity will have 9 products that generate $1B+ each in annual sales, including Celgene’s Revlimid, which treats multiple myeloma, and Bristol’s Opdivo, a lung cancer treatment. We recently discussed Celgene in our Future of Aging report — read about it here.

  • 71%: As you might expect, the top New Year’s resolutions for 2019 are largely focused on health and wellness: 71% of Americans are hoping to eat better this year, while 65% want to exercise more, 21% want to quit smoking, and 15% want to drink less alcohol. As consumers become increasingly focused on personal well-being, companies are jumping on the wellness trend, offering everything from on-demand fitness solutions to vitamin-infused foods to non-toxic beauty products. Check out how wellness is affecting nutrition, apparel, sleep, and more in our wellness report.

  • -57.1%: In 2018, semiconductor company AMD took the top spot as the year’s best-performing stock, with a 79.8% increase in stock price. Keurig Dr. Pepper (up 61.6%), Trip Advisor (55.8%), and Chipotle (48.8%) were also among the top 5 best performers. At the other end of the spectrum, L Brands and GE each took a -57.1% hit over the year, making them 2 of the 5 worst-performing stocks of 2018. (Clients can read more about L Brands’ rocky year in a client note here.)
  • 21: As Google’s Waymo branch begins testing its self-driving cars in Chandler, Arizona, the service isn’t popular with everyone. There have reportedly been at least 21 attacks on Waymo vans, ranging from slashed tires to thrown rocks at the vehicles. Despite setbacks, Waymo vans are still logging some 25,000 miles per day on Arizona roads. Curious what other cos are working to make driverless a reality? Here are 46 corporations working on autonomous vehicles.

One more thing...

Triwa via Fast Company

IM Swedish Development Partner, a nonprofit organization, is working to establish a supply chain for the metal produced by melting seized illegal guns.

In 2016, the project known as Humanium Metal took place in Guatemala, and produced one ton of metal. It is now continuing in El Salvador, where 1,825 illegal weapons were melted in 2017.

Now Swedish watchmaker Triwa is repurposing that metal in its watches. The sales generated from the timepieces will go to helping rebuild El Salvador's economy.
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